10.15.2014

Love and Marriage...and Parenthood...and Depression and Dysfunction and Disaster?

http://annagodfrey.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/539187_10202243932398210_1569656851_n.jpgFor introverted, inquisitive voyeurs like me, Facebook is a godsend.  Here is sanctioned stalking of friends and family, with a big assist from those very same friends and family who so helpfully post constant updates and pics.

I hope that didn't sound too creepy; I'm half-joking.  In all seriousness, though, Facebook is a wonderful way to keep in touch in your relationships.  It is delightful to be able to follow the people that matter the most to you as they go through the seasons in their lives: falling in love, getting married, having babies, raising kids, kindergarten, soccer games, prom, and so on and so forth.  It may sound corny, but it makes the world seem smaller and cozier, that I can see how my friends and family are doing and I can keep them posted on what I'm up to.  And all the cute baby pictures and to-die-for vacation pictures and yes even the annoying fancy dinner plate pictures, all of that makes me smile because I am able to share in other people's happiness.

Of course, sometimes we use Facebook to vent or rage or wallow or lament.  But usually if something is really going wrong, we find it hard to share in a setting like social media.  Not that that's a bad thing: there is such a thing as sharing different things to different people in different ways.  It's just important to remember that when we scroll through our news feeds, that everything we see is real but it is not quite all of reality.

In life, in marriage, in parenthood, we have our great days, our so-so days, and our awful days.  Sometimes, we have a season of awful.  And sometimes, we have unending phases of truly awful.  It can seem dissonant when all we see when we check in on our friends and family is the great days.  It can atrophy our ability to share when all we share is the great days.

This all seems so obvious.  Plus most of us have real relationships outside of social media so there are ample opportunities to be real, to share about cruddy times and to hear about cruddy times.  But I find myself having to remind myself that life isn't just the stuff you post on your Facebook page.  There are seasons of sorrow, and we can make it through them.  And there are people struggling and scuffling all around us and all around the world, and we can be people who are available to be confided in and cried on. Through love and marriage and parenthood, and depression and dysfunction and disaster, I hope to have good friends and be a good friend, smiling at the happy shares but also mindful of the fact that life also consists of unhappy seasons too.
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